New working paper on “International Spillovers from Central Bank Communication”

“Spread the Word: International Spillovers from Central Bank Communication” with Hanna Armelius, Isaiah Hull and Xin Zhang (all at Sveriges Riksbank)
(This version: 09/2018; First version: 09/2018; Sveriges Riksbank Working Paper No. 357)

  • Abstract:

We use text analysis and a novel dataset to measure the sentiment component of central bank communications in 23 countries over the 2002-2017 period. Our analysis yields three key results. First, using directed networks, we show that comovement in sentiment across central banks is not reducible to trade or financial flow exposure. Second, we find that geographic distance is a robust and economically significant determinant of comovement in central bank sentiment, while shared language and colonial ties are economically significant, but less robust. Third, we use structural VARs to show that sentiment shocks generate cross-country spillovers in sentiment, policy rates, and macroeconomic variables. We also find that the Fed plays a uniquely influential role in generating such sentiment spillovers, while the ECB is primarily influenced by other central banks. Overall, our results suggest that central bank communication contains systematic biases that could lead to suboptimal policy outcomes. (JEL E52, E58, F42)

  • Keywords: communication, monetary policy, international policy transmission.

New paper on online lending and monetary policy; Sveriges Riksbank Working Paper Series No. 319

“Fed Liftoff and Subprime Loan Interest Rates: Evidence from the Peer-to-Peer Lending Market” with Isaiah Hull (Sveriges Riksbank) and Xin Zhang (Sveriges Riksbank) (First version: March 2016)

  • Abstract:

On December 16th of 2015, the Fed initiated “liftoff,” raising the federal funds rate range by 25 basis points and ending a 7-year regime of near-zero rates. We use a unique dataset of 640,000 loan-hour observations to measure the impact of liftoff on interest rates in the peer-to-peer lending segment of the subprime market. We find that the average interest rate dropped by 16.9-22.6 basis points. This holds for 14 and 28 day windows centered around liftoff, and is robust to the inclusion of time dummies and a broad set of loan-level controls. We also find that the spread between high and low credit rating borrowers decreased by 16% and demonstrate that this was not generated by a change in the composition of borrowers along observable dimensions. Furthermore, we find no evidence that either result was driven by a collapse in demand for funds. Our results are consistent with an investor-perceived reduction in default probabilities; and suggest that liftoff provided a strong, positive signal about the future solvency of subprime borrowers, reducing their borrowing cost, even as short term rates increased in other markets.

  • Keywords: peer-to-peer lending, subprime consumer loans, Fed liftoff, monetary policy signaling, default channel, household debt.